Scope and options tabled for delivery of Palace of Westminster restoration: More time needed so next government decides…

The restoration of the Palace of Westminster will be ‘reasonably ambitious’ in scope and take between 11 and 17 years, with both Houses possibly decanting for the majority, the Restoration and Renewal (R&R) Client Board has revealed, as decision on what to do will likely be delayed till after election to allow more time to assess options.

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… A final decision on how to deliver R&R is expected to be taken in 2025…

Restoration and Renewal Client Board etc. write:

  1. Members of both Houses and the public are clear that the Palace of Westminster should be restored and protected for future generations… In this report we set out a clear pathway to enable the Houses to take an evidence-based decision in 2025 on a way forward for Restoration and Renewal (R&R) of the Palace. We outline plans for further work on three options: a full decant option, a continued presence option and an option of enhanced maintenance and improvement. The detailed work on each of these options, and the costs, risks and benefits associated with them, will be brought to the Houses next year in advance of decisions being taken.
  2. Part of the further work carried out over the next year will also consider whether the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019 needs amending, to facilitate greater parliamentary scrutiny and a more flexible programme and funding model throughout the extensive lifetime of R&R.
  3. Restoring and renewing the Palace—an internationally recognised symbol of the UK, democracy, and part of a UNESCO world heritage site—will directly benefit the one million people who visit every year and the thousands who work here every day, by delivering a greatly improved building, with better accessibility, more reliable services and enhanced health and safety. Companies and small businesses in all four nations of the UK will also benefit from the work and long-term investment that restoring the Palace will generate. Jobs and opportunities will be created, while skills and trades can be developed and revitalised, with the potential to secure an enduring legacy from the works. Above all, delivering R&R will fulfil the commitment made by both Houses to preserve and restore the Palace of Westminster, and ensure the continuing function of the UK Parliament in its historic home for generations to come.
  4. We recognise that a variety of views exist about the best way to tackle the works required to secure the Palace’s future, and the challenging circumstances in which decisions will need to be taken. At this stage, we are not asking the Houses to choose between the options set out in this report. Rather, we have identified a way forward which will enable us to arrive at a detailed, robust and fully costed plan for the works which commands the confidence of both Houses, and the public, as swiftly as possible.
  5. We recognise that before taking a decision, Members will want detailed information regarding the costs for restoring the Palace, and the benefits R&R will achieve. Robust costs will accordingly be prepared and presented for all three options outlined in this report in 2025.
  6. Estimates have not yet been produced for the option of enhanced maintenance and improvement, as we first need the more detailed work to determine the scope that could be achieved under this option, and the exact approach to its delivery. Waiting until we can provide costs for all three options will enable the Houses to make a meaningful comparison between them and to take an informed decision about the preferred way forward. All options for R&R, however, represent a significant, multi-billion pound and decades-long investment in the Palace. We are committed to supporting the two Corporate Officers (the Clerk of the House of Commons and the Clerk of the Parliaments) in bearing down on those costs and ensuring value for money.
  7. A final decision on how to deliver R&R is expected to be taken in 2025, once the three options outlined in this report have been worked up into fully costed proposals. This report also sets out our conclusions as a Client Board regarding the locations for temporary accommodation for the Houses under the full decant and continued presence options. It is estimated that construction of temporary Chamber accommodation venues for one or both Houses—depending on the option finally chosen—would aim to start in 2026. The exact timetable for subsequent decant, where required, and the beginning of main R&R works, will be presented to the Houses in 2025 as part of the more detailed work to be undertaken during the next year.

View the Report

See more background

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